opium poppy

The headlines are nonstop. We are told that people are dying every day because of abuse of opioid analgesics. There are tragic stories about overdose deaths. This makes lawmakers want to crack down and make it harder for doctors to prescribe such medications and people to access them. Some people, like this reader, are caught in the cross fire of the opioid epidemic.

Q. What are people in chronic pain going to do now that the pendulum has swung toward not prescribing opiates for those in chronic pain?

As a hospice nurse I frequently see patients suffering from terminal cancer pain. I myself am a chronic pain patient and am scared to death that I will no longer be able to get adequate relief from severe pain.

Is anyone with compassion overseeing agencies such as the DEA, insurance companies or government policy makers?

A. Regulators are caught on the horns of a terrible dilemma. On the one hand they are dealing with an opioid epidemic. There are scary headlines about abuse of drugs like oxycodone (OxyContin) or fentanyl. Overdose deaths are reported almost every day.

DEA Cracks the Whip:

As a result of the opioid epidemic, policy makers have cracked down on drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone. The Drug Enforcement Administration has made it harder for physicians to prescribe such medications for people dealing with chronic pain. Many doctors are now fearful to prescribe these drugs for more than a few weeks.

Many patients suffering long-term severe pain are having a hard time getting relief. We have heard from hundreds of people who never abused opioids or increased their dose.

Stories from Readers:

Kay in Seattle, Washington:

“I had a terrible slip & fall in the shower 6 years ago and for 4 years following that accident, I had relentless pain, my mobility decreased, I gained weight and slowly slipped into a very scary, dark place emotionally and mentally.

“Luckily and by the grace of God, I found a combination of a good pain doctor and 2 specialists in alternative therapies that have slowly but surely helped me to start to regain my life back. I am not 100% but I am a lot better.

“It makes me so sad because I know there are people out there who have not been able to find medical professionals that can help and/or will really listen. Reading about people in pain who cannot access treatment makes my chest tighten up, my heart ache and brings tears to my eyes.

“I shudder to think where I might be had I not found help. Pain meds work for people who need them & the people who need them should be able to get them without being put through the 3rd degree. They feel bad enough already without being denied and shamed by the government or medical professionals.”

Jan in Alaska writes:

“I have worked in the Carpenters Union for over 20 years. I have also been in three rear end collisions. Between these injuries and osteoarthritis I would not be able to function if it weren’t for opioids I would never get any sleep. If you cannot sleep you cannot function.

“I have NEVER over used, or abused my prescriptions. I feel I am suffering because of the actions of others.”

Jackie in South Carolina has an interesting perspective on a powerful drug:

“I am going on 80 years of age and have been taking oxycodone on and off for several years for chronic back pain. Before I reach for the oxycodone I try everything else in my ‘arsenal’ like heat patches, Tylenol, ice packs…you name it…and if they don’t relieve my pain I take the opioid.

“There are trade offs. Constipation, a slight hangover in the morning, etc. No one has to protect me from myself and I resent someone unrelated and uninformed about my medical condition having the power to dictate how much pain I must tolerate.

“What are we to do without the option of oxycodone and the like? Lie awake through the night and suffer? People who find a way to abuse that particular substance will just turn to something else with possibly greater consequences. Who, then, is better off?”

The People’s Pharmacy Perspective:

Sadly, there are no simple solutions to the challenging dilemma of the opioid epidemic. It is not clear that restricting access to these drugs for people in severe chronic pain will end the opioid abuse problem in America. Sadly, we do not have great alternative strategies for dealing with this kind of pain.

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  1. Kelly
    Murrells Inlet, SC

    I am in shock. Absolute shock. Still. My pain specialist still wrote my regular prescriptions for me, but when I went to get them FILLED, I was told SC STATE LAW will not let any pharmacy FILL IT! I am 45. I have been on a steady dose of Methadone for almost 20 yrs now because the Pain Fellows at Darmouth Med Univ in NH, whom I saw after my last failed back surgery (resulting in permanent damage to my sciatic nerve) all told me it was a better medication for nerve pain than oxycontin was.

    So I chose it. I never would have chosen it if I ever thought I’d be forced to come off of it. Or even forced to come down from a dose that my DOCTOR is comfortable with and carefully prescribes. I have never abused pain medication. I take it as prescribed and try to not take as much as I am prescribed if I don’t absolutely have to. I am able to shower. I am able to walk my dog to an empty lot across the street from the condo we live in (with my 86 year old father, who had 5 back surgeries resulting in RSD, who depends on me, and who also is being treated for chronic pain with an opiate medication and has been on what his doctor agrees with for more years than I have.

    And to have to try to explain to a man who is already suffering and confused is…too much). I can go to therapy. Depression. PTSD. Anxiety. I miss so much, but I CAN DO things that I would – will – never be able to do without the pain medication. Like walk. Seriously. I am so in shock. Besides my overwhelming fear about the withdrawal – bc methadone gets into your bone marrow, it’s a more painful withdrawal than most any opiate, I am dreading my life now. Dreading feeling the pain that I know will come.

    I read many other thoughts about doctors not being able or not willing to prescribe pain, and I went through that hurdle. And then went through the hurdle of my insurance again this year, but it really truly terrifies me that EVEN THOUGH my DR prescribes it, I can’t get it filled in any PHARMACY!! It is still a LEGAL medication. I also read and agree with some who said these state and federal limitations will cause MORE PEOPLE who have never abused their medication, who have a legal prescription, TO TURN TO ILLEGAL DRUGS AND/OR SUICIDE. I firmly believe this.

    How did we get here? How did we as a country get HERE? I know I don’t want to live in a place where the government can dictate what drugs the pharmacies can fill even though my doctor (chronic pain SPECIALIST ding ding ding) is comfortable prescribing it to me. She knows me better than the government. Even the pharmacist was crying with me bc she knows it’s just not fair.

    People in chronic pain with no history of abusing drugs they are prescribed are suffering more than the people who are in pain BECAUSE THEY ABUSE DRUGS – and one more thing… THIS IS HOW ADDICTS ARE MADE!!! Trust me I know. My SISTER who was living in Mass was taken off her pain medication (back surgery with a bone from her hip used, a fusion, plates after a bike accident) she OVERDOSED on HEROIN not 6 MONTHS LATER! Died. She is dead. My big sister. Because of this.

  2. Charles

    I have taken hydrocodone as prescribed by my physicians since the last century. I am 76. We lost everything because ” insurance ‘ NEVER replaces 100%. In addition, it never adds to the additional burdens that diseases cost that take away your means to sustain financial responsibility that mature people accept going forward. I’ve witnesses the ” take their guns away” liberalism since stupid people in Peter Principle” positions couldn’t agree on when human life begins, way back in 1972. I am not well enough to fight City Hall, just smart enough to know defeat. It’s America. I surrender. Japan & Germany have survived well due to utter defeat. They simply turned their capturer into themselves.

  3. Alicia

    The government is trying to push chronic pain sufferers to use their heroin. REALLY?! I can not see any other way as to why they would take opioids away from people THAT ARE SUFFERING ~ HAVE NEVER ABUSED THEM~ just like they are trying to take guns away from the rule following law abiding citizens that have never shot any one 🤔

  4. Mary

    As a person with chronic pain this policy seems so unfair to us. People overdose on drugs, and then those of us who take medication for a better quality of life/for pain (just to make it through the day) are punished. I have some bad stuff going on and have never asked to increase my dose or asked for more than I needed. I have to take medication for relief in order to drive my car to get to the doctor,to be able to stand to shower to bathe,etc. When my pain relief is taken away from me, and I have to lie in bed to suffer, don’t they realize how depressing that will be? So instead of overdose deaths there will be depression/suicide deaths to escape the pain. The doctors went to medical school, and now they are being told they can’t help the patients’ needs. They are smart /educated/campassionate people who went to school to help people. The government is now telling them how to treat their patients. What?


      Mary, you have expressed so eloquently what so many of us in severe, chronic pain feel every day! I have had chronic pain all of my life due to autoimmune disease, severe scoliosis, digestive and kidney issues and more. I have relied on, in some form, narcotic pain medication for most of that time. Just 10 months ago I underwent extensive spinal surgery that included the installation of quite a bit of hardware. The short story is that things went terribly wrong, and I have been told that a major nerve that affects over 1/4 of my body was seriously and permanently damaged. The pain I now deal with is so, SO much worse than anything I could have ever imagined.

      I have learned to tolerate quite a bit of pain over the years but nothing could have prepared me for this kind of nerve pain! In addition, my left leg is partially paralyzed, (from me moving it, but I can still feel pain!). Now I am being told that I need to take “Mindfulness Classes” for the pain. I have been a Meditation Guide and Spiritual Life Coach for almost 40 years! If I wasn’t, I probably wouldn’t be functioning at all. Since the doctors have begun to take my pain meds away I have begun to experiment with edible Cannabis for the first time in my life! Then I get a call from my doctor telling me that Cannabis was found in my lab work. No kidding! He did not ask me if he could test me! If he had asked, I would have TOLD him I was using it!

      He told me if I want any help with any type of prescription pain medication I cannot be taking cannabis. So now I am damned if I do and damned if I don’t! I asked if it was his or Kaiser’s policy, that a patient in documented, severe nerve pain, who was being denied opioid medication, could not use LEGAL marijuana for pain relief. He shuffled a bit and said it was his policy BUT he tells me, MOST doctors would agree with him, he said. Funny, my former doctor had no problem with it. Then I wasn’t made to DRIVE one hour, (each way), 4 days a week for 5 weeks and SIT, (remember I have severe back & nerve pain from failed back surgery syndrome), for 4 hours in a MINDFULNESS class that I am more qualified to teach than the instructors of those classes! *That last statement came from one of my doctors, NOT me! I swear!

      Yes, I agree with what you are saying Mary, the deaths “they” are supposedly trying to avoid, will now come in the form of suicides, by those of us who cannot tolerate the idea of this level of intolerable pain for the rest of our lives. Worse yet, when you deal with insurmountable pain each and every day, you are not in a position to fight these insane laws and policies. Might as well check out. If I cannot enjoy ANY quality of life anymore, or feel like a somewhat meaningful use of space, there is no reason to take another breath.

  5. frank

    I have used pain medication for 38 years, daily, all of the sudden I have to use just ibuprofen…when I was taking oxycodone for a number of years, what is a person too do…

  6. Rich P

    What happened to the Medical World, they are telling the same lies they told 38 years ago about Morphine Medicine for Severe Chronic Pain- back when they made me suffer every day for more than ten years (and NO exaggeration whatsoever). And now they are doing it again, it’s been more than a year now, and for what- oh that’s right the drug addicts they care about! But NOT us, they just make us suffer for nothing, for we are the Blacklisted by Medicine, we the people with Severe Chronic Pain. They are simply an evil, cruel, people. They sold out us out, we the people who need Morphine for any kind of life due to our daily constant Pain and that only Morphine works to ease the Pain, and due to severe injury or sickness we have.
    Again they have walked away from us, and have left us to suffer once again in a daily Hell, all for nothing with all the other useless crap that does nothing for my Severe Chronic Pain sickness. They are a fraud and lying outfit! My life is proof of it, I have used what they consider a pretty high dose of Morphine for 27 years with NOT one measly problem, it gave me a life, that I do NOT have without it! Only a daily Hell of suffering due to a C1-C2 fusion that is not in place exactly right and too dangerous to mess with; and never mind my severe head injury that I was not conscious of existing for month, and the other multiple head, face, and upper body injuries. But hey I’ve got nothing better to do for these lying cut throats, but suffer in this Hell again!

  7. Susie

    I cannot believe what is happening to patients that are in doctors’ care, not on the streets buying heroin or selling opiates, but at home in chronic pain, not able to work. It sickens me. Chronic pain is debilitating and depressing. I guess being an M.D. does not mean a thing anymore. It is just so disheartening, people cannot be expected to live in pain with NO relief and be punished. Isn’t that what drug screening is for??? Confused.

  8. Nancy
    Prairie Village

    My sister has had severe pelvic pain for 10 years. She has tried everything under the sun for relief and has gone to every kind of doctor about it. Opioids are the only meds that work for her, and now they have been taken away. She is contemplating suicide now, because there is no hope of relief.

  9. L.
    Everytown, USA

    I have a question and have yet to get a reasonable answer: Why are chronic pain patients being limited to 50-90 mg morphine equivalent per day for legitimate and verifiable conditions when addicts on heroin maintenance programs are being offered 10 times that amount and for years?! Most people think that the addict’s medication is being titrated down after they are stabilized but that is rarely the case. Why is there not a dosage requirement for those in recovery? Why are chronic pain patients being penalized? Why can’t we find a middle ground that protects pain patients but helps those trying to recover? As soon as someone says “crisis” and “epidemic” people can no longer see reason? Now they are talking about a lawsuit against the drug companies. If we follow that logic, then why not sue Smith & Wesson or Ruger for the guns on the street or the companies that make alcohol? When are we going to ask addicts to be responsible for their bad choices and quit blaming and punishing everyone else?

  10. Barbara

    I have been on pain medications for quite some time. Every now and than I go through withdrawal and see how my pain is doing. And it always returns. When I’m not on med’s, the pain becomes unbearable. I pray, and pray to be taken out of this body, which has deceived me so many times. My plan B is to go to the streets and find heroin and be done with this struggle. I don’t abuse my med’s, or sell them. ??? Everyone is shouting overdose, are they not listening when people are choosing suside?

  11. JIM

    I have been on high doses of pain meedications for 27 years. Was a welder by trade and worked two full time welding jobs for 15 of 27 years. Blew out many discs in my back and neck. I did all of this with many very painful medical conditions like; Ankylosing Spokdlitis, degenerative disc disease, very large bone spurs, liver disease, 3 fusions in my neck with another needed, but at a cost of restricted movement, also have sarcoidosis, severe spinal stenosis with neuropathy.

    I have been on heavy pain killers for years just so I can get up from bed every morning. I wish that this government could experiance my kind of everyday chronic screaming pain, as if glowing red hot knives are thrust into my body and twisted with every slight movement of mine. How can they make such policy and take away my pain meds that are the only thing that keeps me from putting a gun in my mouth to stop this torture.

    Without taking in account each individuals circumstanses and that there are diseases and medical conditions out there that are more painful than end stage cancer pain and they will ultimatly have to answer to GOD for letting good honest and decent americans come to an end like this. I have tried everything offered in the way of alternative medications and therapies with no relief. Only the opiates help take some of the pain away that I can get out of bed everyday and have some kind of a life even though the pain is still present, I can function and live and love my family with the help of opiates.

    To all of you policy makers and law makers, WHAT COMES AROUND GOES AROUND. Someday, you will find yourselves in the pain I am in, and one day and you will find yourselves in my position with no relief available, because of your uncaring and unfeeling position for us that will fall through the cracks of society.

    • Gayle

      I agree with you. I’ve been on pain medication for years due to four failed spinal surgeries. I’ve also been on Ativan over ten years for my panic attacks. Now my Dr is telling me I’ve got to get off my Ativan or not take pain medication. I,for one, am sick of the Drs abuse. My body and mind are not a ping pong ball. I’m 57 years old and didn’t choose to be on any of it in the first place yet the Drs keep telling me what I can and cannot take after my being on them for years and never abusing any of it. Someone besides the pt should be held responsible. We do our part. The Drs should do theirs. Fed up in Texas .

  12. Joe D
    Phoenix, Az.

    I served 22 years in the military and was forced to retire due to injuries from multiple IED explosions in Iraq. Destroyed L1 thru L5 in the back along with other injuries including severe headaches from Tramatic Brain Injury. I have been seeing the same pain management Dr. for almost 6 years now (since there is no point going to VA since they literally will do nothing but give me moltrin and physical therapy), have always been honest, if I needed more would say so, if I needed less or had left over meds would say so. But now paper pushers who have no idea and want to claim they did something are saying no more. I have run short on meds before and remember how bad it is, or when my family has to help me out of bed just to go to the bathroom, better yet when I was stuck in the middle of the room for over 6 hours because I couldn’t move before wife came home and found me there.

    I personally do not like taking the pills or how they make me feel, but that is much better then living with such blinding pain that you can’t move or even think and only want it to end. Now it looks like this is too be a reality since I am already below what my Dr. is even happy with, and this is to decrease even more. I went through that when I first retired just can’t go through that again.

  13. Joanne
    Hershey, Pa

    I have been on various pain medications for a number of years from Percocet to morphine to methadone. The surprising thing is that I am an alcoholic, in recovery for several years, and have not had an issue with pain meds once I stopped Percocet. That did become my “crutch” for awhile but after inpatient therapy I managed to stop drinking and stop abusing Percocet.

    I have been on methadone for pain for 4 years with no issues, using Percocet, very occasionally, for break-through pain also with no issues. I recently had back surgery number 3. I am very lucky as hopefully I will be able to get off pain meds and not feel like a criminal when I fill my prescriptions. I am in the weaning off process, and it has its challenges. My concern is for the people that have chronic pain issues and are suffering. I know of so many in legitimate pain, and they are getting desperate. As one friend said “They want to make heroin addicts out of all of us.” I know that pain. I know that desperation and fear. Pain is pain.

    We have swung the pendulum in the wrong direction with the wrong people suffering because it is an “easy” fix for the government. I know the pain clinic I go to is receiving desperate phone calls because people can’t get prescriptions from their primary docs. The PC docs are terrified to prescribe, and pain clinics are going to injections only. Seriously?? I have had so many injections without a positive outcome that I lost count. I suffered along with my checkbook. My own surgeon’s office of 25 doctors took a survey of their patients and addiction and the percentage of addiction was just about non-existent.

    We need to all write or see our congressional representatives and take action.

  14. Gerald

    We were told the crackdown on prescription pain medication was in response to an increasing number of opioid overdose deaths. Now the real numbers are coming in and it’s clear what a predictable disaster that draconian crackdown has been.

    Since the government’s arbitrary restrictions on medications like hydrocodone and oxycodone began in 2014 the number of prescription over dose deaths has only slightly declined. Over all, however, opioid deaths have actually sky rocketed. In 2015 for example , about 52 thousand opiod over dose deaths occurred. By 2016 OD deaths shot up by a staggering 10 thousand to well over 63,000 fatalities! Much the increase the result of very dangerous and very illegal fentanyl and heroin. Cracking down on relatively safer prescription medications have caused drug addicts and abusers to turn to much more lethal alternatives.

    Mean while legitimate pain patients are being treated like criminals. Seeing their much needed medication reduced or cut completely. And for many their lives have literally been destroyed by unrelieved agony. What a disgusting intrusion of uncaring , incompetent government bureaucrats into a situation they have made far worse by virtually every measure. Pain patients need to write their congressman and senators and let them know this must change. If not we will hobble, crawl , roll or be carried to the polls to vote against the SOBs that have supported these criminally misguided drug policies! We refuse to be collateral damage in the failed war on drugs!

  15. William Schultz
    Chesnee, SC

    I, too, was surprised, upon my doctor’s appointment in September, to find out that I can get no more fentynal patches. I have been disabled for 24 years and taking 250 mg every 48 hours for over 20 years when all else failed. Went through a grueling cold turkey detox at $1000 a day and was left with severe detox RLS and insomnia, not to mention the pain. I am 66 years old. Cannot get any help from doctor. Pain management is a joke, same as 20 years ago. They want only to sell you back implant electro. Then if you are lucky and do get a pain med, be ready to be treated like a criminal, random pill counts and urine test on demand. Never abused PRESCRIBED medications but still suffering the mental, physical, emotional and finally financial ramifications of being a outlier in the battle on opiates. We are broke and hopeless.

  16. Douglas
    Port Orange, FL

    I also note I have a pain pump and it’s filled with fentanyl. I have had 6 Medtronic pumps in the past 18 years, but even this doesn’t take all the pain away. What can I say,,, you want me to move,,,but your scared of what might happen? Then give me naloxone, I have family with me 24-7.

  17. Douglas
    Port Orange, FL

    I have had two spinal fusion in attempt too correct fractures. I live in pain every day, I depend on morhpine to keep me moving. Now with all the hoop la my Doctor has turned in to a paranoid @$# with out them I can not move! Something needs to be done to protect the legitimate user!

  18. William M

    2 pinched nerves in my neck causing radiculopathy in both arms (neck shoulder to both hands) for the past 8 years, degenerative disc disease (age) bad arthritis in both knees, tears in both shoulders ..not once has my pain been managed correctly.

    I had surgery on one of my shoulders in July due to additional issues and I thought I was going to be able to finally get a little relief. I was given pain meds for the first 2 weeks. Less than adequate for physical therapy every day..I was told “yeah we don’t write pain medication at this point of recovery( the 15th day post op). I wont go into the stupidity that followed in that conversation.

    Then I was kindly told I could take advil..the first 2 weeks I was able to make incredible progress..then they watched as I began to revert to right back where I was prior to surgery because despite doing the best I could the pain was too great to get me where I needed to be and stay there as it healed. I literally cried as the only glimmer of hope I had in such a long time was lost. I can cry thinking about it.

    I’ve been lied to by so many doctors and even when I called them out on it they have no shame. Here is what I predict and it’s already started. Heroin use is going to sky rocket further; which works out well for a government that has so much invested in some of the biggest foreign poppy farms in the world.

    Suicide from unmanaged pain is going to explosively rise over the next decade. I believe it’s up 25-30% so far ( these people left notes indicating the reason for their departure). We won’t hear about that though. Just like we don’t hear about all the other drugs in every OD case involving pain medication. 9 out of 10 opiate related overdoses reported fail to mention the actual facts about the toxicology report.

    They don’t tell you about the drinking or the xanax or anything else..it’s just an opiate overdose regardless what else is in their system.. Actual pain patients that OD from opiate medication is just about non existant. You don’t see the public outcry from people who have family members in chronic pain that have died from their normal dose of pain medication. It doesn’t really happen. it never has! I don’t have any hope anymore, my pain is only going to progressively get worse unless I get lucky and get killed first.

    39 years old, a wife , 3 step children, work full time in construction and I don’t want to be here aymore. Here is something to think about..imagine having a headache every minute of every hour for 5+ years and what that would do to you physically and mentally. Most if not all of us with chronic pain would give anything to have that be our problem. I’m honestly beyond bitter and wish nothing but the absolute worst possible hell upon those responsible, death would be too good for them. They could be burning to death in front of me and I wouldnt do them the courtesy of pissing on them to put them out.

    That so many people are suffering because our government is going to keep its 100% failure of a crusade of endless tax dollars going to God knows where is just completely unforgivable at best. As long as people want to escape their reality and get high there is going to be drugs. Take away every known drug on the planet in less than 6 months people will be getting high on something else. You aren’t stopping this, you arent even making the smallest of dents and you know this, it’s been proven to be true and there isn’t a shred of believable evidence to the contrary.

    The only logical conclusion to me is our government is getting rich cutting doctors out of the picture and making sure America’s streets stay well supplied. I’ve exhaustively thought about all of this and it’s the only conclusion I’ve come to that makes any horrifying sense. If all the puzzle pieces didn’t add up it would be one thing. They do unfortunately though.

    It sounds a conspiracy theory I’m aware but do your research and see if you can come up with a logical explanation that isnt easily proven wrong with simple facts available to anyone. Best of luck to all of you who are suffering. I hope you find a caring compassionate doctor that isn’t afraid to stand up for their patients.

  19. Timothy M
    Burlington Vt

    I am 62 yrs old construction mgr and have suffered from global (which means everywhere) severe advanced degenerative osteoarthritis and acute osteoporosis in several areas, i.e. Left hip etc.. I was advised by a team of my doctors, counsellors, psychologist and psychiatrist at the Community Health Center where I have been treated for chronic pain management for 20yrs plus that it was ok for me to become dependant on opioids given my condition, so long as I did not become addicted.

    I have taken the same amount everyday for the last ten years and now I’m being told I have learn how to live without it because of an opioid abuse epidemic ravaging the country.. So do I become collateral damage?

  20. David
    Modesto, CA

    I am 54 years old and have been dealing with back pain for the past 20 years. I have been on opiates (Oxycontin and Oxycodone) for chronic pain for the past 9 years to deal with my lower back/leg pain and neck pain. I’ve never abused it or tried to get early refills in all this time. I’ve had 4 surgeries (1 cervical and 3 lumbar), 18 epidurals, multiple rounds of prednisone, acupuncture and a host of nerve and other pain medications and the only thing that consistently helps to dull the pain enough to function (most days) has been the opiates. But now it’s like I’m being looked at as a drug addict because this medication offers me relief.
    I went to see a doctor this morning to discuss getting another cervical epidural because the pain in my neck and shoulder has reached an unbearable point, and he said the only way he would take me on and do this is if I agree to start getting off the opiates. The only reason I am wanting to have the epidural is because the opiates don’t offer the relief for my neck pain that they do to my lower back and leg. So if I agree to this I may get some temporary relief, until the epidural wears off, in my neck but increased pain in my lower back and leg. He said he doesn’t believe in prescribing opiates for pain and that they are probably the cause of my pain since I’ve been on them so long.
    It’s funny how someone who is young and healthy and not living every day in pain can make a judgement on how I am feeling and what works for me. I have tried many, many different medications and alternate therapies and the one thing that has consistently worked is the one I’m being told I can no longer have.
    I’ve worked at my job for 35 years and finally reached a point where I needed to take time off work because the pain was so bad I could not concentrate. I was at the point where I was tired of living. If it wasn’t for my wife and kids I would have already checked out a while ago, but I can’t do that to them. Fortunately my primary care physician agreed to take me out of work for a while and try some other therapies. One of which is the epidural, to see if it will provide enough relief so I can go back to work. This doctor I just saw said he doesn’t believe in taking people off work, he said we all have pain. I’m glad my PCP doesn’t feel the same way or I may have ended my life a while ago regardless of my family.
    It seems that the DEA and Insurance companies have scared doctors so much that they are going to end up hurting those of us that are legitimately in need of pain medications.

  21. Mike

    I remember having the Right to pain meds. Yes, the”RIGHT.” It was posted at every hospital. How do they get to just take rights away?

    I have been in chronic pain since 2002 and have been on many different meds. My treatment xwasbetweenmy doctor and me. The government has now decided to ruin that relationship formally Americans because they find it too hard to stop the illegal drug dealers. In fifteen years I have never abused my pain meds. They tried to push Viox, which killed people. I refused to take it, but this is what they will do: Push bad drugs on us. How do we fight back?

    • Tina

      I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis degenerative disc disease and have been in pain since 2002. Now my doctors are saying that they’re going to take away my pain pills. This is not fair. I do not abuse them. I do not misuse them. I have gone through them the way I am supposed to go through them. It is not my fault that people are taking these pills and doing what they are doing. I know for a fact that people are going to start turning to drugs and alcohol to get rid of their pain. They tell me that I now have to go to a pain clinic. The pain clinic costs me $30 every time I go in. They want to see me 2 times a wee. That’s $60 a week. I do not have this money. I don’t know what I’m going to do.

      My husband is in the same predicament. He has been through 5 operations. Between his back and his neck he is in so much pain that he can’t walk. I’m saying right now if they take away our pain pills I will be having to quit my job. I will lose my home. I am raising my grandchildren. I don’t know what I’m going to do to place them and my husband into a home. My husband is on Social Security income. His income isn’t enough to do what we have to do to live. This is a nightmare for a lot of us people. Please leave our pain pills alone.

    • Benny

      I have tried physical therapy, cyopractors and got surgery on my back still in pain and have to work,have wife with MS and both of us on pain meds and pharmacy and insurance companies give you such hard time,never abused, never filled early taken like we’re sopoused to and now we’re getting the blame for idots, stop pain meds and they’ll just buy dope ,crack down on people who have to go to the hospital for abusein .
      Pay out of my pocket for insurance so I can try and have a Simi normal life,well there going to have more people in hospitals looking for relief, so see what your profit margin looks like next year, insurance companies be prepared to loose your ass you think it’s bad now pain management
      Profit going thru the roof,will be one on every corner. Put that in your board meetings

  22. Ladonna

    Yes, I suffer with stenosis degenerate disk osteo hip. Since the opioid epidemic doctors are afraid to help with pain meds. They treat you like have the plague plague or something. I went through withdrawals and severe pain. Is there help for people like me? I’m depressed and tired of fighting this mess.

  23. Kathy

    I have Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Sjogrens and I am always in pain. It started about 2008 with hands swelling and as a nurse I couldn’t do my job, I was 63 so I retired. Then doctors were generous with pain pills, muscle relaxants etc.

    My diseases progressed and the pain was worse then the ever but now they don’t want to give you drugs.The war on opioids is the government trying to control our lives if junkies overdose and die that should not affect pain management for patients with chronic diseases!

    • Amy&Mark

      Oh yes, but at least you live in Colorado. We are considering heading out that way.

  24. Steve

    This is important. We are not hearing from people pain killers have helped. People who were bed ridden or unable to do the simplest things who since taking pain killers are now able to function. Probably like most here, I didn’t get my first script and finish it 3 weeks early.

    I was prescribed 6 per day, and wound up taking 3. I took them the way pain killers SHOULD be taken. NOT every 4 hours, or every 6 hours, but WHEN YOU NEED THEM. I do get 30mg oxycodone now, and it is a blessing. I need more when I wake up and in the winter, or during heavy rain, because that is when the pain is greatest. I need less on warm sunny days. I never mixed them with anything I shouldn’t, and doctors should not prescribe some things with them, and it is the bad doc who doesn’t know any better who does.

    I never crushed a bunch and laid them on the table to snort. I always took them orally. I often cut them in half to see if that will work, wait 20 minutes, and if it doesn’t, THEN take the other half, sneaking up on the pain to where it is effective, and I am totally functioning. I feel horrible for those who have kids and family members who have suffered through the addiction, and yes, I am addicted now.

    But I knew that going in and still chose to take them because THEY WORK. I prefer immediate release, because of the control I have, and because time release only increases your tolerance, and can’t be “un-done” once taken. I saw my sister go through hell with my niece who began on opiates in HS, and wound up on heroin, in and out of countless rehabs and eventually prison. But she is clean 2 years now, and obviously never took them for pain. She took them to get high.

    It is hard to compare booze to these, because these are medicine, but if I had to, it would be like comparing the guy who sucks down a quart of whiskey at a sitting, staggers to his car and drives around with the guy who has 2 beers watching the ball game. One gets annihilated and is a danger, and the other finds it relaxing and hurts no one.

    Now imagine drinking 2 beers made bedridden people able to work again. Imagine 2 beers made those who could not move able to enjoy life again, and you have the picture.

    • Barbara

      I suffer the same things as you. None of us even know what to do anymore.

      • Amy&Mark

        Barbara, I just got up this morn and see your post where my husband has been up all night because we are both chronic pain sufferers (for different disabling medical conditions) and yesterday were told by our doc that they would no longer be able to manage our pain mess and we are being weaned off. Your statement is exactly what we feel. Seriously considering selling everything, leaving Virginia, and moving out west such as Colorado or Nevada to be able to get an alternative for the pain. If it doesn’t work, then no loss because neither one of us will still be here to worry about it. Our pain is intolerable and life is not manageable without some relief.

  25. roger
    new mexico

    I am 66 years old and I have Spondylosis of the spine for many years and the reason I didnt go to Vietnam. I have been taking 5 mg twice a day of hydrocodone for severial years and my Dr. cut me off because of pressure from FDA and her company. I have had to take a urine ( drug screening for a couple years).

    I got a letter saying I had failed the drug test. She said it was because diazapam showed up positve, well she prescribed be 15 tablet of 5 mg for sleep. A coulple of months prior to the test. It was an ridiculous stunt or an excuse to cut me off hydrocodone.I have never tested positve for any illegal or legal drugs that were not supposed to be in my system. This opioid crisis is killing legitimate people who really need the medication and do not abuse it.

    The people that just want to get high will find what ever they want illegally anyway. Thanks to all the good people out there that are suffering because of some bad apples.

    • Robert

      I 100% agree with Roger on this. I had 3 major surgeries in the past 12 mos and one of those was two-9 inch rods amd 11 screws put in my back and fusing of some vertebrea. I have alot of pain still from mainly the back and I take 30 mg Oxycodone and it gives me TRUE QUALITY OF LIFE. I would not be able to do hardly anything if I could not have them. My ins co really fights my doctor amd me on this.

      Here is why for all of us…..we have some young insur co execs up in some tall glass towers who know ansolutley nothing about us as patients and our surgeries and wanting to play doctor with our lives. I go to a pain clinic doctor and their whole staff is up on arms with these ins co’s. The pain clinics try to fight these ins. Co’s as much as their patients do like myself.

      Lawmakers in Dare doing “knee jerk reactions” to all the opioid stuff and try to include us as abusers!….I only wish they could live my life for 24 hrs and then see them scream for pain help. Souless uncaring bastards. I take my meds as directed and always pass everydrug screen I get…which is approx every other appt.

      My doc knows I have legitimate reasons for taking this med….the execs in the insur co does not!…they just want to lump all chronic pain patients in with the abusers who take these meds to get highs. I am 66 and an honest guy….I am fed up with this and they better get it right or there will be hell to pay to these ins co’s.

      I have a great prominent attorney friend and he really wants to go after them for medical treatment abuse and I may let him take my case if things get worse. He sayshe already has plenty of evidence against them now amd my case would be a slam dunk…maybe become even a natl known case he says with all the stuff my ins cohas already done to me. Stay tuned my fellow band of friends who have pain issues like me.

      • Caroline

        Robert, you do what you must. My case is similar to yours, and I would be happy to stand up with you. There are many, many hurting folks like us. We need to unite and make our voices heard. These folks in Washington and in our state capitals are trying to remove opioids from all the doctor’s treatment arsenals and forgetting about us, all the non-druggies, the patients in justifiable, long term pain, all for their own politican gain. I don’t want to be part of statistics. I must take my medication to live as normal as can be. I realize that I won’t get my pre-injury body back, but using opioids will get me much, much closer to getting my pre-injury LIFE back. Period. And really, isn’t that what it’s all about anyway??!! Yes!

        • Ray
          NEW JERSEY

          I would gladly go along with a legal stand against those responsible for allowing CHRONIC PAIN SUFFERERS to continue life without their pain medications, opioids are the only meds that work on my 35 years of chronic pain ,and they do not control the pain 100 percent. I am 77 years old with failed back surgery syndrome , (2 failed spinal surgeries with fusion) spondylolisthesis at L3,L4, herniated T-12 , C-6-7 Both knees are bone on bone and should have been replaced 8 years ago. Also diagnosed in 2013 with Asbestosis and heart disease . I have bed sores due to not being able to sleep in bed and instead having to sleep in a recliner. I also have kept my pain meds down to 4 10/325 of Oxycodone per day along with a pain patch every 3 days. Without opioids to help with the pain I do not believe I could live on.

  26. Sean

    This goes back to the 5th grade mindset of punish the entire class because one person screwed up. I’ve been in chronic pain management for 20 years, and I am fortunate to be in pretty good shape. My meds have been stable for about 10 years, and I’ve been able to work and be a productive member of society. My pain doctor and I are concerned that the politicians will involve themselves in this issue and just screw it up. Punish those who abuse medications and use them incorrectly. Don’t punish those of use who use them correctly and have a semi-normal life because of our pain management. I fear where this is going in the end.

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